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tv   ABC 7 Morning News at 430AM  ABC  March 11, 2011 4:30am-5:00am PST

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>> really do tell the story. you can judge the scale of this catastrophe. we'll keep you updated. >> on "good morning america" and also anytime at abcnews.com. thanks for watching. ♪ a major earthquake rocks northern japan followed by a huge tsunami that swept away people, homes and vehicles. take a look at that, the hawaii islands now braced for up to 10 foot high waves expected to hit in about a half an hour. >> good morning, everyone. i'm eric thomas. it's 4:30 a.m. >> i'm kristen sze. let's begin with the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that spawned a deadly tsunami. >> the numbers, 40 dead, 39
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people missing. did you see the pictures of water rushing inland pushing cars along in front of it. it looks like it comes from a disaster movie. jenelle begins in the news room with details. >> eric, we just got an update seconds ago. the death toll is 60 and it's going to rise rapidly. it's devastating, surreal. it's unbelievable. the earthquake lasted for just a few seconds. as you can see, the aftermath it just destructive and devastating. powerful tsunami waves taking out cities, rice patties, fields, cars. people literally running for their lives. airports have been totally been destroyed. this earthquake happened about seven hours ago, 2:46 local time in japan just off the northeastern coast about 200 miles north of tokyo.
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it was a magnitude 8.9. we hear there's been as many as 40 aftershocks, many 6.0 and above. the devastation is just unbelievable. roads wiped away, homes wiped away. there are fires burning out of control. this is an oil refinery. it's been burning for hours now. we don't know the extent of damage to people and the injuries. also a nuclear plant we hear has been shut down. the country issued a stays of emergency after its cooling system failed at the power plant. no report of any radiation leak but the fire is burning out of control because of the gas leaks and pipeline breaks. it's terrible. it's nighttime there right now. the cities are in gridlock. all the major public transportation lines have stopped. stores are closed, people are trapped. it's just devastating. now, there's tsunami warnings all over the pacific.
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we've got hawaii, the west coast, the eastern seaboard of asia. the tsunami waves were as high as 30 feet in some parts of japan. we're going to be following this the entire morning. again, the death toll is at 60, rising every 15 to 30 minutes. 56 are reported missing. that's the official count but we know the number's got to be higher because we've literally seen people running for their lives, driving in their cars, getting away from these waves as fast as possible. live in the news room, jenelle wang, abc 7 news. >> frightening pictures, jenelle. the emergency officials in hawaii are under a tsunami warning now. the first wave from that tsunami are expected to hit about a half hour from now. residents of honolulu were alerted last night and many quickly went to gas stations to
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fill up in case they had to evacuate. >> trying to get gassed up and being prepared before anything really happens. just to be safe. >> canned goods and everything else. and we have some water, hoping to pick up some more water so -- >> a resident on the hawaii island of ca kwai said many packed their belongings, watching. >> it is a island and it's densely packed and that makes for more potential damage in a situation like this. amy hollyfield is live near ocean beach. they're asking people to say away from that area because of the tsunami warning that includes the west coast including the bay area but, amy, we've had people gathering here. >> it's changed every minute. now the great highway is closed to all cars.
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check it out behind me out at the lincoln section. they put the barricades up. this just happened a few minutes ago. they just decided to do this. they say pedestrians are not allowed out here. they're out here at their own risk. the police presence out here is heavy. san francisco police, park police, they are watching very carefully. i've seen san francisco police driving with their spotlight on watching for people so they can tell them what we're possibly facing. they want to warn people and keep them aware. they are definitely keeping in touch with each other as well. here's another police officer. they even told us we are here at our own risk. they decided to be very cautious just in case -- they don't know what is expected. but it's predicted to hit san
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francisco at 8:00 this morning and the prediction is the water will raise as high as 2 feet. that could change. they have buoys in the ocean monitoring what is to come. they have not ordered any evacuations for people who live on ocean beach. there is a warning in place. people need to stay in touch, be aware because the situation keeps changing. police are very interested what's going to be happening in hawaii. that's what they're going to watch closely. that's how they're going to engage what happens on our coast. expect things out here to change. we will be here to bring you the latest information. right now you just want to stay in touch, be aware. live in san francisco, amy hollyfield, abc 7 news. >> all right, amy, thank you very much. we're gonna check in right now with -- well, we'll have someone from the office of emergency services here in california to answer some questions in a few minutes. right now we'll move along with this story and a reminder on the
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nhk network pictures you may see from japan, they're saying it was an 8.4 magnitude quake. that's been revised to 8.9. the magnitude 8.9 quake shock dozens of cities and buildings along a 1300 mile stretch. this is video of a man holding an elderly man as the walls and everything shake violently around them. workers ducked under desks as the book shelves fell to the floor. tv announcers urged people not to leave their offices to prevent injuries in case of more powerful aftershocks. >> firemen have been training this week in the event of a major earthquake in their homeland. the menlo fire department has trained several weeks from japan. the class was supposed to graduate today before heading
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home on saturday. a more advanced group was supposed to arrive this weekend for additional training. we talked with menlo fire chief during coverage last night. >> i don't know what's gonna happen at this point. they may not even be able to get back. the group to come here, i'm assuming based upon the need in the country, they're not going to be able to meet that schedule. >> the team performed several drills yesterday, including crawling around in a 50 foot long tunnel to simulate what it would be like in tight spaces during search and rescue operations. >> the bay area chapter of the american red cross says it's prepared to send help to the devastated areas of japan when it's requested. it is monitoring the situation and expect an official request for support today. the local red cross here will post information on its website for the kind of help that's
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needed. we have a link at abc7news.com. we'll have the latest pictures of the earthquake damage in japan. >> as we mentioned, california and all the way up to oregon and washington under a tsunami warning this morning. we're going to bring in california emergency officials jordan scott with the state office of the emergency services joining us by phone to talk about the preparations here. >> good morning, jordan. obviously you're monitoring things. >> good morning to you both. right now it's the coordination effort primarily to establish communications and make sure that we're in touch with all the local officials and other state agencies that may be involved in anything like this. so the priority here is just making sure everybody has the resource that they need and the abilities to deal with the situation as it continues to develop. >> after the indonesia disaster, of course, do you feel we're well-prepared along the coast in terms of alerting people and responding quickly for the
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emergency issues that come? >> california is very well prepared for this kind of thing. we've gone through the process of maps for different coastal communities. based on a number of different tsunami scenarios, how it may impact specific areas and what they would need to do. with an eye vent like this it's different from a lot of emergencies because we have the luxury of time. we don't expect the first wave to start hitting the shore until 7:30, 8:00 this morning. so we have a few hours to get people where they need to be. >> jordan, people may be interested in how you keep track of the tsunami as it travels across the pacific. there's a network of buoys out there, that's how it works? >> yeah, that's correct. the kind of tracking system made up exactly of that. the buoys that track the waves, the the amplatude and how they're
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progressing. >> what we heard so far is that the predictions for here along the california coast may be 2 to 4 feet in terms of the size of the waves. a lot of folks may be thinking that don't sound very high but could you talk about what kind of damage potential is there with the 2 to 4 foot high waves? >> it depends on the area being hit. like we said, we have a lot of coastline here and it's a very diverse terrain. a couple inches in one spot could do more damage than a foot in another. just depends on the area it hits. so it's a wide range that we could expect. you know, we're not really expecting a large-scale inundation of any kind but there will be a difference when the waves start to approach the shore. so the important thing is that people remain safe, they're listening to their emergency officials, you need to get out of the area, get out of the area. we have a tendency to do in california is some folks like to
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stop by or watch the wave roll in and do the looky lieu thing and can put officials in a bad spot and them. we ask they listen to those directions and move on. >> the same advice for those folks who grab their surf boards and see what kind of wave they're gonna ride out. >> absolutely. it's different conditionses out there, it's unpredictable and we want people to stay safe and that's the priority. >> jordan scott, thank you for updating us this morning. he talked a little what time we might start to see the first set of the big waves. i know mike's been working on that all morning. >> sometime around 8:00? >> seems like 8:08 in san francisco. i love the calmness of jordan. look at the swarm. while you guys were on the phone with jordan, we had four more
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aftershocks and they were magnitude 5 or higher. we've had 54 aftershocks. one was 4.5. even the depth of the quakes are now dropping down to around 25, 26 mills into the ground. what an incredible amount of mass that is moving around japan right now. let's talk about why. that could be the key indicator for us. what happens in hawaii at 5:00. a tremendous idea what's going to happen when the waves get here. that's 25 minutes or so. crescent city 7:23. we're sliding into low tide. low tide is 9:51. so when we do get that tsunami swell, our regular tides will be dropping down so hopefully that will helplessen the impact. we have fog up in napa. everybody else is pretty clear with temperatures in the 40s, 50 in oakland.
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chance of rain in the north on sunday and a better chance of rain for all of us tuesday, wednesday and thursday with temperatures pretty close to average. good morning, frances. >> good morning. a couple things you need to know regarding the tsunami. bart has activated their emergency operation center just to be prepared for the tsunami warning. at this point no service changes are planned so everything still running with no delays and also you saw amy out on the great highway by ocean beach so the great highway will be closed until midday, those low-lying areas. also this may impact muni so some muni lines maybe rerouted and there could be delays and we'll keep track of that this morning. even though we had an earlier accident in novato, we've seen no slowing so it's friday light out there. >> san mateo county said early this morning they would activate its reverse 9-1-1 system, call
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out to some residents and ask them to evacuate as a precaution. one of those folks is susan donahue. good morning. >> good morning. >> what did the call say? >> the call said that low-lying areas in san mateo county along the coast and specifically the area in pacifica should plan to evacuate and start doing it now. >> susan, did it sound like it was asking you to do so or ordering you to do so? >> it sounded like an order. it was pretty specific and they're actually setting up evacuation areas in pacifica. >> are you personally hearing any sirens at all or simply the phone call is all you got? >> not hearing sirens. in fact, we have a pretty good view of both the ocean and the highway. i haven't seen police or fire activity here. our neighbors have a lot of their lights on. i think everybody got the call about the same time.
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down in pacifica they say police and fire are setting up areas around lindhmar. >> we have on the screen some of the evacuation centers in san mateo county, half moon bay high and terra nova high. now that you've gotten the call, susan, what are you going to do? >> we're preparing to make a decision so we're going to make sure that we're able to get out and get out quickly. at this point we have a little wait and see attitude. we're trying to see exactly what happened in hawaii. and we're fortunate we're not right up front along the beach, along the ocean. so we're a little higher up. that gives us some leeway but we're here on the beach on the west side. we're taking it very seriously. >> i was gonna say in the half moon bay area, the homes certainly very close to the beach and also hills to where people can get up higher.
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is your plan usually that should a tsunami hit because i'm sure you thought about things like that, the plan to go into one of those hills? >> we've got a hill directly behind you guess and that is our a plan. please don't share it with san mateo county because it's not the official route. >> okay. what else are you seeing right now up there? >> there's not a whole lot of activity right now. i'm taking a look at highway 1. a little bit of traffic but i don't see any emergency vehicles and not a whole lot of other activity out there. >> susan donahue at half moon bay. thank you for the information. some of those reverse 9-1-1 calls going out this morning advising people they may be in the path of the tsunami, to move to higher ground or move to one of these evacuation shelters. not mandatory yet, an advisory at appoint. >> a lot more coverage coming up with the devastating earthquake
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in japan. what the impact could be this morning. >> the tsunami sparked a warning in the pacific, including hawaii and the california coast. that's why you're getting this coverage this morning and look at the power of it. in japan, the water pushing houses, cars, power poles and large vehicles
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>> good morning, everyone. i'm jenelle wang live in the news room. we're following the devastation out of japan. we want to show you some pictures that we've been seeing. it's just unbelievable. it's surreal, devastating. the death toll at 60, 56 missing, that's expected to jump
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as the morning continues. this large earthquake hit 8.9 friday afternoon local time followed by this massive tsunami that just wiped out, destroyed, consumed small towns, rice fields as you can see right there at the airport completely destroyed. people literally running for their lives. this earthquake again hit friday afternoon japan time. the tsunami followed with waves as big as 30 feet high. many afternoon shocks over magnitude 5.0. the tsunami is causing complete devastation along the coast of japan and warnings along the west coast and the pacific ocean. tsunami can travel as fast as 500 mph. so we are hearing it may be reaching hawaii in the next ten minutes and then eventually here on the west coast. we're going to have more on that. reporters up and down the west coast in the bay area. we hear fires are burning out of control at oil refineries.
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homes on fire from gas line breaks. several nuclear power plants shut down completion as a precaution. people gridlocked because roads are completely knocked out. stores closed. just more and more information coming in. and, again, we hear the tsunami warnings are up in hawaii. they've alerted people in that state. sirens are going off. people are being warned to stay out of low-lying areas and we'll be following that. the first wave is expected to hit around 5 a.m. 8 minutes from now, waves as high as 6 feet. look at these pictures, walls of waves, water sweeping over japan. we're following this closely. we have reporters all over the
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place and we'll bring you more during the newscast. >> jenelle, thank you very much for that. 4:52 our time. our amy hollyfield is live near ocean beach which is now closed down, amy, is that correct? >> the beach is closed and the great highway is closed. police have decided this is the lowest point in the city and they want to be very cautious so they just closed all of this. i have the captain here to tell us about that decision and what you're telling people today. thank you for joining us, captain. what do you want us to tell pedestrians. >> what we'd like you to do is be safe and one of the best ways to do it is stay away. we're asking onlookers when we see 'em to go to the high ground where we know they can be safe. we have closed off the highway from point lobos and 48th
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avenue. we have checked the beaches, and the beach is closed by the united states park police. and we have our homeless unit in golden gate park concentrating around the area warning the homeless that they should go a little further inland and telling them of the danger. >> cathy, what about residents. a lot of people are probably watching from their living room wondering. should they go? >> right now we do not believe there is a danger to the residents. but that is being considered every half hour. and if that changes, then we will mobilize, and we will evacuate the homes or the areas where we think it is necessary. >> the best advice is stay aware, keep watching tv. >> exactly. it is a tsunami watch which means that there is danger.
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and that i think if people are aware, they're better served. >> captain, thanks for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> we have seen active patrols, police driving up and down. one officer couldn't stop to talk to us because they have to stay mobile. they're doing their best to watch for people and keeping them informed. they've got their spotlights turned on, looking for people walking the dog, jogging, keeping them informed. they want you to know what the risks are. they are estimating that the highest water will be at 2 feet. that's just an estimate at this point. as he said, they're watching it, it's changing every 30 minutes. they're especially interested to see what's going to happen in hawaii. at that point things here could change again. amy hollyfield, abc 7 news. >> good reminder there, amy. thank you very much.
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>> san mateo county has begun contacting residents along the coast and requesting that they evacuate and several evacuation centers are being set up so far there are five. and we had those five listed on our website abc7news.com. also you can see right here these are four of them. atascadero high school, ocean areana high school, terra nova high school. the other is fairlawn elementary and that's 400 santiago. we have all those on our website abc7news.com. >> and they will open at 6:00 this morning for residents who want to evacuate their homes and move to higher ground. as we were told by jordan scott a little while ago, this is not mandatory yet but it could be at some point so you should stay tuned to your tv, to your radio, to the media to find out what the latest is. we were talking about earthquake magnitudes just a couple minutes
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ago and how powerful this one is. looking at a site here from michigan tech university. an 8.0 or greater quake is considered a great earthquake and it happens once every five to ten years in a populated area so -- >> right. and then each point is actually ten times -- so you go from a 7 to 8 or 8 to 9. >> a 9 is much more powerful -- >> than a great earthquake, right. we have much more ahead. we'll follow the latest on the aftermath. jenelle is going to continue to be in the news room for us following the latest developments. >> hawaii bracing for the tsunami expected to hit there just after 5 a.m. which is as you can see now just a few minutes from now. in a if you minutes we'll talk
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